Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas traditions | What do you do?

I've had this post started forever, but kind of lost my blogging mojo a while back and never finished it.  However, now that I'm starting to hear about everyone's Christmas Traditions, I thought I would finish it up.  I always love hearing what fun memories people make so we can add them to our list.  I love making Christmas a special memory for the kids.  I just keeps getting better and better each year!  So here it is...most of our Christmas traditions...
Decorating | We typically decorate the lake house weekend after Thanksgiving.  Usually the kids help me decorate the inside while Adam and his dad hang the lights outside.  We don't go all Clark Griswald, but I definitely see us putting up more outside decorations as the kids get older.  And yes, they will be helping their daddy soon.  I'll have hot cocoa waiting for them when their done! :)  Our indoor decorations are mainly silver and red.  Lots of sparkles.
Tree | We've been putting up three small {fake} trees, clustered together for the last few years.  Someday {soon!} I hope to start getting real trees just like I did when I was a girl, but right now we aren't at the condo or the lake house enough to keep one alive.  I do however still take the kids to look at the real trees.  In the city, they bring trees in and make a little fort with lights, so we take photos there.  If we're back home, we go to the tree farm when my parents cut theirs down and enjoy all of that. :)

AdventWhen Jordyn was two, I started opening a Christmas book and doing an activity with her each day of December.  I wrap 25 books in craft paper and decorate them with red and green washi tape, bakers twine, etc. Each night before bed, we open a book and read it together.  As for the activities, I sit down Thanksgiving weekend and make a calendar.  I would love to randomly pick one each day and do whatever it says, but with working 4 days a week, I try to plan simpler activities on those days {look at the Christmas lights, watch a Christmas movie, drink hot cocoa in front of the fireplace, etc.}.  I also schedule things according to local events {Tree lighting on the 1st, Jingle in the Junction on the 4th, Santa at the zoo on the 6th, Brunch with Santa on the 14th, Sleigh-ride on the 20th, etc.} I fill the calendar with things like make a craft for grandparents, shop for our babysitter/preschool teacher/gym daycare workers, wrap Christmas gifts, etc.  Two years in, I can tell you both of my children look forward to Advent activities more than anything else.  It's always worth the investment {time, money, hassle!} :)

Gifts | We give gifts to the most important people in our lives {siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, daily/weekly helpers--sitters, teachers, close friends, service workers, etc.}  We buy the kids something they Want, something they Need, something to Play, something to Read.  We don't go gift crazy, but try to do a mix of wants and needs.  I wrap all of the kids' gifts in brown paper and decorate with red and green  washi tape, baker's twine, etc.  No name tags, red is for Jordyn's gifts {3} & green is for Cullyn's gifts {1 1/2}.  Just like my mom did, stockings & Santa gifts are never wrapped! How would Santa have time for all of that?!  :)  In our house, Santa brings one, big {unwrapped!} gift for each child under the tree.  This year Jordyn is getting a bike {at her request} and Cullyn is getting a drum set. *I always thought it would be cute to tie a string around the Santa gift and trail it to their room, but I've never actually done that.  

Eve | Christmas Eve {evening} is always spent at our lakehouse.  We go to Church with my inlaws and then come home to bake cookies so we have some to set out with milk for Santa.  And carrots for the reindeers.  This will be the first year we set out 'reindeer food' the night before.  I'm pretty excited for that.  :)  The kids also get to open one package each on Christmas Eve.  It includes new pajamas and a Christmas movie to watch while sipping hot cocoa in front of the fireplace.  This year the kids are getting a game, which I'm so excited for.  I think they're going to love it.  It's a personalized, matching game with photos of our family members.  Once the kids go to bed, Adam and I will enjoy a bottle of wine while we finish wrapping the presents, and set them under the tree.

Day | Christmas morning we start Christmas music & a fire, then we opening gifts.  In the past the kids have been pretty little, but I think we're going to start making them go back and forth, one at a time.  Adam and I don't do gifts for each other.  As the kids get older, I will have them get a gift for each of us as well as a gift for each other.  After they open their gifts, we put them together and let them play while we make breakfast, usually cinnamon rolls.  Sometime throughout the day we bake a cake for Baby Jesus.
That's pretty much the extent of our Christmas.  I would love to hear what everyone else does.  It's so fun to hear different traditions. You can see our 2013 Christmas recap here.

One tradition my in laws do, that I just love, is that all of the grandkids {8} grab one of grandpa's big hunting socks and set it out for Santa to fill the night of their Christmas.  I think this will be a good memory for the kids one day. :)

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